MUMBAI: Former India captain and stylish batter Mohammad Azharuddin believes that Virat Kohli's "staggering consistency" when he was at his peak some two years back has set the benchmark so high that even if the charismatic cricketer scores in the 50s of 60s, his fans feel he has underperformed.
"With Virat Kohli, what happens is that even if he scores a 50, people say he has failed," Azhar was quoted as saying by Khaleej Times on Friday. "I think it happens to every cricketer, even the best of the players have gone through these lean periods," opined the 59-year-old.
However, Azhar felt it's a matter of time before Kohli rediscovers his form, adding that just one century for the cricketer will get him firing again. Kohli has endured a long lean path, having not scored a century since November 2019 in any of the three formats.
He then endured a poor IPL 2022 season, scoring 341 runs from 16 matches at 22.73, even though he is the highest-ever run-getter in a single IPL season, when he scored 973 in 2016 for Royal Challengers Bangalore.
"There is nothing wrong with his technique. Sometimes you also need a little bit of luck. If he gets one big score, a big hundred, the aggression and the confidence will come back," added Azhar.
Azhar also hoped that all-rounder Hardik Pandya, after leading Gujarat Titans to the IPL 2022 title recently as captain, needs to show consistency for long periods.
"He has the ability, he has done well for the Indian team, but because of the injuries, he was not in the team consistently. He has come back now, he is bowling his four overs. How long he will bowl we really don't know. But we definitely want him to bowl since he is an all-rounder," he said.
"In the IPL final (against Rajasthan Royals), he completely changed the game, three wickets in four overs, then he scored 34 quick runs. He is a good talent, just needs that consistency."